MT 95/668

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Traffic signals: emergency warning signs and signals

Date range1962-1964
LocationNational Archives (see all files stored here)
CatalogueSee entry
File baseSeries MT, subseries MT 95

Context

In the early 1960s the Ministry of Transport began investigating ways to provide traffic information to drivers, and looked into systems already in use in the US and other foreign countries. Between 1962 and 1964 it started the earliest live trial on the M5 in Worcestershire, installing a series of large electronic signs that were capable of displaying a range of fixed messages, each picked out in lightbulbs or neon strips on the sign's face. The messages included ACCIDENT, FOG, ICE and SLOW.

This file contains the key papers on the development of these signs, the research carried out in other countries and the design work, including the diagrams that were used to construct the roadside signals and details of how signals were sent from a control room to the signs via spare cores on the GPO telephone cables at the side of the motorway. It also contains reports on traffic reactions to the signs from the local police forces.

It is one of the key files in VMS development held at the National Archives. However, despite the catalogue listing's promise of photographs, I don't recall seeing any in the file itself. I'll check this when I get home. --Chris5156 13:26, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

The documents held in this file are continued through MT 95/669 and MT 95/670.

Related files

MT 95/669 Traffic signals: emergency warning signs and signals (1962-1964)
MT 95/670 Traffic signals: emergency warning signs and signals (1962-1964)
MT 95/924 Development of emergency signalling (emergency fog and speed limit signs etc.); 1965 correspondence and ministerial brief (1965-1971)
MT 112/111 Automatic emergency traffic signs: M5 Birmingham-Bristol experiment (1962-1971)
MT 126/53 'Secret' traffic signs (signs illuminated only during periods of use): policy on use (1964-1973)

People with camera copies

Chris Marshall has a partial copy, including all diagrams.